Lilac festival is an annual spring festival held during early May in Highland Park, Rochester, New york, U.S. It is one of the oldest festivals of its kind held in North America. Lilac festival is a festival of Lilac flowers which grow in abundance in Highland Park which is home to more than thousands bushes and over hundred varieties of Lilac flowers. Lilac festival is hosted in early May because May is the month when Lilacs are blooming in their full glory.
The Highland Park was bestowed upon Rochester community by nurserymen George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry in 1888 as a 20 acre of rolling hills but was developed to its current form of 155 acres of Parkby renowned park designer Frederick Law. The first Lilac collection was started in 1892 by horticulturist John Durban with just 20 varieties which has grown now to more than 500 varieties of Lilac. On one Sunday of early May, 1898, about three thousand people visited the park to enjoy the blooming Lilacs and thus started the Lilac festival informally. Since then the Lilac festival has grown into an official celebration lasting 10 days.
Today the Lilac Festival starts with a parade and hosts variety of concerts, children activities, entertainment events and other attractions during the week. The Lilac festival ends with annual Lilac 10K road race and 5K family Fun Race. The Lilac festival is not just about beauty of Lilac flowers but it also offers its viewers great music, food, wine and farmers markets and splendid art performances. The Highland Park provides free entry to all its visitors. During the festival, the field surrounding the arboretum is occupied by vendor’s tents and food stalls.
Similar Lilac festivals are also celebrated in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Mackinac Island, Michigan, U.S.